Note for online students: We do not provide support for environment issues if you set up a local environment using a Mac. For supported environment options, please read this article:

The following instructions are for students who are preparing to take the Immersive In-person Software Engineering program at Flatiron School.

Step 0 - If you've downloaded the Learn IDE, Uninstall the Learn IDE

For detailed instructions on how to properly uninstall the IDE, please read this Help Center article

Step 1 - Download Command Line Tools

Open up your Terminal. This is where we are going to be doing most of our installation steps! On Mac, you can open up your terminal by going to Applications > Utilities > Terminal, or by using the quick launch (cmd + space) and just start typing “Terminal”.

In terminal, type xcode-select --install to install the command line tools. You do not need to install the Xcode application.

If you get a message that the command line tools are already installed, that is fine.

Step 2 - Install Homebrew

Install the Homebrew package manager. You can do this by entering the following command into your terminal:

ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL"

Note, this is all one line in the terminal (even if it is broken up into two lines here in your browser).

Step 3 - Install git

  1. Make sure you have git. It generally comes pre-installed with most operating systems, but you can check by running git version  on terminal. If this gives you an error or does not come back with version number, you'll need to install git. you can get it by typing brew install git  on your terminal.
  2. Run ssh-keygen to create a new SSH key. If you do not already have an SSH key set up, you’ll be asked to select a location and a passphrase. Just leave everything blank and press enter for default location and no passphrase. If you’re asked if you want to overwrite, then you already have an SSH key and you do not want to overwrite it.
  3. cat ~/.ssh/ This will display your SSH key to your terminal. You want to then copy this and add this SSH key to your github by following the instructions posted on GitHub.

Step 4 - Configure git

You need to let git know who you are. You can do this by running: 

  1. git config --global "" 
  2. git config --global "Your Name"

Git will use this email and name as the author for all the changes you make.

Step 5
- Support Libraries

Next we’re going to add a few support libraries with the following lines: brew install gmp and brew install gnupg 

Note: If you get the following error: Warning: gnupg-1.4.19 already installed, it's just not linked, run: brew link gnupg.

Step 6 - Install Ruby Version Manager

RVM is a tool that lets you run different versions of Ruby on your computer. If one project you're working on works with Ruby version 2.3.3 and another needs 2.6.1, you can easily switch between the two versions when you switch between projects. You can install rvm  and set it up with the following commands:

  1. Run curl -sSL | bash  (make sure you do not use sudo)
  2. Run source ~/.bash_profile. This reloads your terminal configuration file - similar to  closing your terminal and opening it again.
  3. Run rvm install 2.6.1 
  4. Run rvm use 2.6.1 --default
  5. Check that everything worked by running ruby -v . This should output the version of ruby you’re using (2.6.1). If you want to see the list of versions that rvm has installed, you can run rvm list.

Step 7 - Install some ruby gems

Ruby gems are pre-written, stand-alone, chunks of code that have been made easily accessible to you.

  1. First, let's update our system gems with: gem update --system
  2. Install the Learn gems. Do this with: gem install learn-co .
  3. Install the bundler gem. This gem takes care of installing other gems you need for projects: gem install bundler 
  4. Install nokogiri with: gem install nokogiri. Nokogiri is a gem to help parse HTML - useful when we want to scrape websites. If you encounter any errors while installing it, check out the Nokogiri support docs for Mac OSX. If after following the guide on that page, you still have issues, use the 'Ask a Question' feature to contact support for help.

Step 8 - Set Up the Learn gem

Now we need to setup the Learn gem. Type the following into your terminal: learn whoami

This will prompt you to set up the Learn gem. 

Note: When the gem asks you to go to , you must fill your username into the URL and be logged in to be able to retrieve your token.

Step 9 - Get a Text Editor

Get a Text Editor. We suggest Visual Studio Code; follow the link to download the macOS version.

After downloading and unzipping, make sure to move the Visual Studio Code app from your Downloads folder to your Applications folder. Open finder and navigate to Downloads (or wherever you save downloads). If you see Visual Studio Code there, make sure to drag it over to Applications

  1. Once Visual Studio Code is in your Applications  folder, launch the program and type ⇧⌘P . Your Command Palette will open. 
  2. In your Command Palette type  >shell command .
  3. Select "Shell Command: Install 'code' command in PATH".

Next, let's install Visual Studio Code as your default text editor in the learn-config file. First, open the config file for Learn in a text editor (Let's give Visual Studio Code a try!). If you successfully installed Visual Studio Code and its shell commands, type  code ~/.learn-config  in your terminal. Your .learn-config file should open in VSCode!

Change default editor from subl to code. If you have a different editor you prefer, you can set it as the default learn editor in this file.

You can also set the default location where Learn will save all your labs. By default, the learn_directory is set to  ~/Development/code

Save and close the  ~/.learn-config file.

Note: These settings only trigger when you use the 'Open' button in Learn or when you use the learn open command. You can always manually clone your labs to any location you wish and open them with any text editor without having to edit this config file.

Step 10 - Install SQLite and Postgres

You’ll be using a couple of different databases as you move through the web development track. The default database that rails uses is SQLite. We also frequently see that students want to deploy their apps to the free hosting service Heroku. To do this though, you’ll need to be using Postgres instead. It’s best if we just install both of them now so you can use either one.

  1. SQLite: brew install sqlite
  2. Postgres: Install the Postgres app at:

Step 11 - Install Rails

Finally, rails! The powerful ruby web framework. We can install it with: gem install rails 

Step 12 - Node

Later on in the program, we'll want to run javascript just like we run ruby. On the command line, the program that runs javascript files (the 'Javascript Runtime') is called Node. 

To manage different versions of node installed on our computer, we can use javascript's equivalent of rvm - nvm. Let's get your node version manager installed.

  1. Run curl -o- | bash  in your terminal. Make sure you do not use sudo .
  2.  Run echo 'export NVM_DIR="$HOME/.nvm"' >> ~/.bash_profile .
  3. Run echo '[ -s "$NVM_DIR/" ] && . "$NVM_DIR/"' >> ~/.bash_profile .
  4. Run source ~/.bash_profile . This will refresh your shell after making these changes. This way you wont have to quit terminal and open it again.
  5. Finally, run 
nvm install node
nvm use node
nvm alias default node

to get the latest version of node, switch to using it, and set it as the default.

Step 13 - Chrome

Install Google Chrome and make chrome your default browser

Step 14 - DB Browser for SQLite

Install the DB Browser for SQLite at

This tool helps you visualize and interact with database tables, which will be helpful as you learn SQL.

Step 15 - Dotfiles (Optional)

Configuration files are often prefixed with the '.' character, hiding them from normal file explorer views - hence 'dotfiles'. Since the default configuration of many of the tools we use is somewhat plain, it's helpful to add some configuration on top.

These recommended dotfiles set up a variety of convenient and ergonomic features to some of the most common tools you'll use - irb , git , and bash

Note: If when you’re trying to back up a file, you get the error No such file or directory , don’t worry. This just means you didn’t have that file to start with, so there is nothing to back up.

  1. Back up your .irbrc file with mv ~/.irbrc{,.bak} .
  2. curl "" -o "$HOME/.irbrc"  - This file gives you some nice formatting for when you’re in IRB (IRB lets you write ruby code in your terminal)
  3. Back up your .gitignore file with mv ~/.gitignore{,.bak} .
  4. curl "" -o "$HOME/.gitignore"  - Global .gitignore rules. When you add a .gitignore file to a project, it let’s you specify certain files that you DO NOT want pushed up to github (like API keys…)
  5. Back up your .bash_profile file with mv ~/.bash_profile{,.bak} .
  6. curl "" -o "$HOME/.bash_profile"  - Your bash profile loads up every time you open a terminal window. The Learn bash_profile is designed to load up a bunch of shortcuts for you as well as make sure that RVM loads up every time you open the terminal. I recommend you take a look at this file and even see if there are any shortcuts of your own that you’d like to add! Note: this will overwrite existing bash profile, so back up if you want to.
  7. Back up your .gitconfig file with mv ~/.gitconfig{,.bak} .
  8. curl "" -o "$HOME/.gitconfig"  then code ~/.gitconfig   (you can access this file with the editor of your choosing) and edit what needs to be edited (github username and github email in a few places).

Step 16  - Key Repeat (Optional) 

Turn up your key repeat. Open System Preferences by clicking the apple icon in the top left corner of your screen and selecting System Preferences. Then Click Keyboard and make sure both Key Repeat and Delay Until Repeat   are turned up all the way. This will allow you to move your cursor through text much faster.

Step 17 - Slack (Optional)

Install Slack for Mac and enable desktop notifications for slack. One week before your start date, you will receive an invitation to join the Flatiron School workspace. You’ll also receive a welcome email with information about channels you should join. 

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